As the customer, album covers are designed to grab your attention. If you are in the shops, browsing the CD section with some spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, a CD cover can go a long way to deciding if you are going spend any money on them or not.
Some memorable album covers in the Hip-Hop genre inlcude the likes of Nas‘ “Illmatic“, Dr. Dre‘s “The Chronic“, Slick Rick‘s “The Great Adventure’s Of” and The Notorious B.I.G‘s “Ready To Die“.
Like anything else in this world, there is a ying and a yang.
This is a list of 20 entries of what could be considered as the worst Hip-Hop album covers.
(Shoutouts to RapMusicGuide.com who provided a few of the images)
20 – Daz Dillinger – R.A.W 
Some say less is more.
But when the ‘less’ is a picture of what seems to be a polaroid taken in a dark tour bus when you’re just about to head to bed then maybe you should ‘jazz it up’ a bit. Of course, that’s where you employ the ‘high-school desk graffiti’ style for your name and subsequent album title.
Daz, at one point, was on what was the biggest label in Hip-Hop. Surely he had some coins put aside for a graphic designer?!
19 – Allie Baba – 3 Wishes 
A guy who names himself after a character in medieval Arabic literature (thanks Wiki) then it’s only natural to appear on your album cover with a magic lamp. Then you should sit down on what appears to be (if I’m not mistaken) a very skewed and mis-shapen magic carpet.
What else could we add? Oh yeah, horrible, horrible cuts of Arabic architecture and this is Hip-Hop after all so we can’t forget to add the glistening whips and the ho. Poor Daz Dillinger. He can’t catch a break so far in this editorial – his name is on this cover too.
18 – Land Of Da Lost – Gone Fishin’ 
West Coast gangsta shit. A waterfall. A sillohette of what looks like bigfoot. A blood-red sky. Oh, and two random floating heads in the actual waterfalls themselves. What. The. Fuck?!
The album title would make any sort of cover strange enough as it is, but these guys thought they would go the whole hog.
Put dat CD in da playa mane, it’s time to go fishin! br-BRAP!
17 – Rodney D – A Moment Of Silence 
My guess is that the first thing you’ll notice is the awful Windows 95 font for both the album title and the artist’s name.
Then, once you dig a little bit deeper into the detail you’ll notice the awful pixelated forks of lightning. The headstones on the graves are also alight. My guess is that they are being struck by the lightning. Thunder usually follows lightning, where’s the moment of silence there?!
OK, maybe I put too much thought into this one. But it still looks horrendous.
16 – Da Soul – Precise 
Let’s start with the cropping of Da Soul, especially around his head. What’s that next to his head? Oh, it’s just a broken wheel from a wheelchair…wait, what the fuck?!
Now, you’ll notice that he is absolutely surrounded by wheelchairs and crutches in a rubbish dump. Is he implying that he attacks handicapped people?! (Oh, how TMZ was that?!) or; his lyricism puts people in crutches and wheelchairs…and THEN he attacks them? I’m not really sure.
Oh, and there’s a huge eyeball in the sky too…of course!
15 – Tha D.R.E. – Still Creepin’ 
Tha D.R.E. seems to have found himself in some sort of acid-induced vortex of disco lights. What sort of pose is he doing?!
I also can’t help but notice he has stolen the ‘high-school desk graffiti’ gimmick from Daz Dillinger.
Here is an interesting note – if you take the “Still” from “Still Creepin’” and splice it with the second half of his name? Then you jump 2 years forward to one of the most memorable tracks from the real Dre.
14 – Joker The Bailbondsman – Bi Polar 
Forget the artist’s name. That’s only the tip of the ice-berg for this one.
This is some Alaskan Hip-Hop. Yes, the Eskimos spit dat raw shit too (and yes, that was a pun in the second sentence of this entry).
That might seem like a harsh stereotype I made of Joker The Bailbondsman. However, he is playing up the gimmick by appearing to be riding a sled being driven by huskies. Now THAT is Hip-Hop.
Don’t forget about the absurd face stuck on to the husky driver! That makes the stoned-face in the sky seem acceptable.
13 – Dr. Dre – A Tribute To 2Pac 
“Wait, Dr. Dre AND 2Pac on a ‘worst of…’ list?!”
Relax folks, this is actually a CD released under the guise of Dr. Dre. The songs aren’t even related to 2Pac either! It’s just a compilation of Dre’s old World Class Wreckin’ Cru and N.W.A shit. Shame on you Street Dance record label! and I haven’t even gotten to the cover yet.
If I could describe this cover in a nutshell: 2Pac…in space…on a burning chair…with no neck.
12 – Creep Dog 4 Life – The Legend Continues 
Does this cover ring any bells? What about the artist’s name too? Yes, Snoop Dogg‘s “Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told” cover (which nearly made the list, by the way), also released in 1998. Is it a parody? One can only hope.
Creep Dog 4 Life appears very grainy and he is surrounded by, what seems to be, photo-shopped cheetahs which, are technically cats…not dogs. They are also wearing blinged out collars and fucking earrings.
Is the bawse chair even real?! Maybe he was sitting on a step or something.
11 – P.L.U.T.O – Players Like Us Takin’ Over 
When it comes to acronyms: the west coast had N.W.A and the dirty south had P.L.U.T.O, who also felt the need to explain their name by using the explanation as the album title: “Players Like Us Takin’ Over“.
This cover has the artist in-question in space (yes, again!) in what seems to be a ghetto DeLorean from “Back To The Future“. Judging by the expressions on their faces – they don’t give two fucks about flying through space in a car with no astronaut suits or shit like that. Maybe they are taking over!
Oh yeah, I nearly missed the homie throwing up the deuce in his own Jetsons-type shit. He’s blasting off mane.
10 – Coolio Da’ Unda Dogg – Steady Smashin 
This is a bit more basic than the last entry.
This cover from Coolio Da’ Unda Dogg features a pixelated and blurred sky, which has been turned green. He is in the middle of this green sky, standing in his hood in Vallejo pulling off a very strange pose.
What’s with the extended leg? Maybe he’s trying to trip someone up, who must be out the frame. OK, I’m clutching at straws but someone explain that leg, it’s almost competing against Angelina Jolie’s.
9 – Tae’ Da Fedi Man – Ready Foe Da World 
My first question goes to the rap name. “Tae” is Scottish slang for saying “To” But this guy’s from the ATL. Da Fedi Man…he’s a fed? He doesn’t look like one judging by this cover.
The thing that jumps out on this cover is Da Fedi Man himself. I’m going out on a limb and saying that Da Fedi Man wasn’t at this stretch of country road when the picture was taken. Wait… is it a painting? I can’t tell, the quality is so bad.
I can’t really explain why Earth is in the background either. Isn’t he on Earth?
8 – Cap – Just Look’n @ It 
Now, after finding out that there are two different covers to this one I almost gave it brownie points for it’s concept…but I couldn’t.
Let’s break this one down.
This guy has a parental advisory sticker on his rear-view mirror. It is also quite apparent that he has been badly photo-shopped onto said rear-view mirror and the title has been written in some sort of “Arnold Schwarzenegger-Predator” font.
Almost on the verge of getting conceptual brownie points, but this shit lands at number 8 regardless.
7 – Big Tob – Sippin’ On Lean Chopped & Screwed 
Another artist from the south. Another shitty cover.
We also have the return of god-awful pixelated forks of lightning. This guy’s whip also has no registration plate and the parental advisory label is one of the worst yet, all stretched out and fake looking.
Here’s the best bit: it looks like Big Tob is doing a “Where’s Wally?” on his own album cover. Check out the driver’s seat. What kinda shit is that?! It looks awful! Obviously photo-shopped in.
So, what I take from that is: they took a photo of a car they seen in a dealership and super-imposed him in it! Scandelous.
6 – Cowboy & Mista Cottrell – Money Makers 
The Woordworxx Graphics. Yes – they actually put their name on this garbage. Not only that, they also put their phone number on there too! If I made this cover, I’d be doing the complete opposite.
From the ugly, chunky text along the top which resembles clip-art shit; to the ultra-shitty cutting of Cowboy and Mista Cottrell, this album cover is an eye-sore and quite laughable.
This guy (I’m assuming it’s Cowboy) is obviously not holding shit in the original picture. He’s mimicking his hands as if they were holding two guns. Mista Cottrell looks like he’s had his picture taken whilst he had been caught raiding a bin or something and the trash has been replaced by money.
If you look at the features – there is actually a rapper called “Pretty Boy“. Pause *infinity*.
5 – Keleze – This Is What They Want [200x]
Milwaukee artist Keleze hired a graphic artist who had just discovered the site OfficialPSDs.com and lost their fucking mind.
I understand the logic of why the PSDs were used. Drink, guns, cars, playboy bunnies. “This is what they want”, of course!
The cutting around Keleze himself is horrendous. Especially around his cap. I guess he gives no fucks about his badly cropped hat when he is surrounded by everything that we all want!
4 – Tic – Troubleman 
This one is rank-rotten.
Are the noise lines throughout Tic and his motor done for effect? or is it just a shitty polaroid pic that has been used?
Why is he glowing? Is he from heaven or something? He’s just standing there…chillin’….on a green-screen floor or something.
Also, there is no backdrop to the text above him. Speaking of text: take a look at the registration plate on the beamer. ANOTHER showroom car it seems. The photo-shopped custom plate is comical at best!
3 – Game Related – Soak Game 
What makes a good cover? It has to be pixelated lamps.
California duo Game Related are outside, just chillin’ like villains. They must be outside because I see a sky above them…wait, but why are there lamps? and a window that’s attatched to no walls?!
They are both getting their drink on with what seems to be a badly-cut, blurred and squinty bottle of Hennessey.
The graphic designer must have been drunk too. It’s my only explanation.
2 – E-Rock – Kliffhanger 
We have our first (and only) religious rapper on the list. Sadly for E-Rock he also comes in at number 2 for this shocker.
The negative background is the most striking part of this album cover. What is going on there?! Then we get the emboss and inner-shadow shit happening to E-Rock himself.
Is his name E-Rock?…or is it Kliffhanger?…ohhh, I see what’s happened here. Whoever made this abomination never followed the rules of: Artist name – top; Song/album title – bottom. This guy can easily be called Kliffhanger and it’s plausible that he could be called E-Rock…I’ll put my money on E-Rock.
1 – Kenai The Hustla’ – Inlet City Rollin’ 
Alaska is back in da hiz-houuuse!
Yeah…there is more than 1 rapper in Alaska. I never knew either! This is REAL. This was released by Inlet City Records in 1998. Now let’s focus on the shit-storm of an album cover.
Where do I start? Well, the awful, awful lighting for starters. I know the Alaskans must not get much daylight (especially during the winter) but come on! You can hardly even see Kenai! (and no, that’s not a racist joke).
Now, let’s look at the shitty crop of Kenai in the sky (yes, I’m aware – that rhymed). Again, like many others on this list, he is cropped really badly. His body also just randomly ends half way down, into the sky, behind some trees. Here comes the killer…he’s fucking backwards! It’s like he has the mirror-image box ticked in his webcam settings or something! How did they not spot that?! If he never had writing on his top then we would all be none-the-wiser!
This is undoubtedly thee worst album cover in Hip-Hop history. Congratulations Kenai The Hustla‘!